How to Avoid 5 Marketing Rip-offs Consultants and Agencies Use Daily

April 30, 2015   |   Joe DeMaria

Fiends, phonies, and frauds: a guide to the top 5 marketing rip-offs Consultants and agencies are using to plot, prey, and pounce on unsuspecting small business owners!

 How to Avoid the 5 Marketing Rip-offs Consultants and Agencies Use Daily

 1. Bait-and-switch low prices

 We are naturally protective of our bank accounts, but this mindset could lead us right into the hands of fraudulent service providers from carpet cleaners to marketers.

 We are targets.

 Like any industry marketing has it’s share of phonies, and it can be tough to spot these guys before they ever get close enough to reach those money grubbing hands into your pockets

 Consultants and agencies alike are willing to fudge the line of ethics.

 They advertise extremely low prices for their services just to get you to call.

If you do actually call them they frantically try every high pressure selling tactic and upsell possible, or add hidden charges to your bill just to make their margins back.

 Make no mistake—marketing and advertising is a science, so you want the best scientists who will deliver results for your business that pays their fee 10 times over (And make them guarantee their work)!

 Cheap always ends up expensive....

 2. Using Short Copy to sell

 How many times have you heard someone say, “People today have no attention span! You need to make everything shorter so they will read it!”

Short copy sucks.

If a consultant or agency tries selling you that line, turn and run, before they can slip their hands into your pockets and relieve you of some of that hard-earned money you’ve got.

This is an extremely common misconception and it is a business killer.

That is no exaggeration either, and both my clients and I can attest to that!

The bad marketer will tell you copy must be short to ensure that everyone can read it and get your message and they are half-right, because while everyone WILL be able to read your message your sales will suffer.

The smart marketer will tell you that long copy is the obvious, tried-and-true method, because the only ones who will read it are people that WANT what you are selling.

That’s good marketing.

Your job is to make sure that the people you are speaking to are pre-motived, pre-qualified, and financially capable of buying from you, not random Lookie Lou’s and rubberneckers.

That is what a lead magnet or sales letter does for your business.

It weeds out the bad prospects and delivers the bulletproof buyers right to your door.

Imagine your life without Lookie Lou's and rubberneckers wasting your time every day, a world where you don’t spend hours chasing bad leads over the phone or email, where making the sale is a formality, and not a fight to the death.

That is the true power of long copy when you pair it with an automated lead generation machine that does the selling for you, and it has been around for over one hundred years.

 Why? Because its good and it works.

 3. Brand building campaigns

 I once met a man who asked if he could become a joint venture partner of JAD, and when I asked what his service was he said, “I run a holistic branding agency”.

 Rarely do I laugh myself off my chair…

 That may seem like a mean response to a fairly innocuous, if a bit silly, answer, but the reality of the situation is that I cannot imagine a world in which I would recommend such a thing to my clients.

 Call me crazy, but I don’t like recommending anything to my clients that I think is B.S.

 Brand building is a fancy way of saying, lets make ads that are cute but make no money.

 It’s the sad truth that the reason so many consultants and agencies avoid direct response like the plague, and hop onto the branding bandwagon is simply because you have to measure success on direct response.

 The biggest advertising day of the year is the Superbowl, and companies are paying something like four million dollars to run a 30 second brand advertisement.

 What a waste!

 As Kevin Rogers says, even though those ads may be cute or funny, chances are you are not going to jump on the computer and start trading stock online because a talking baby told you to.

 These ads brainwashed business owners into thinking that branding is the missing ingredient.

 They are thinking “E-Trade has a funny talking baby, so we need something like that too!”

 If E-Trade gave me, or any other decent direct response marketer a four million dollar budget, you can guarantee they’d multiply their investment – but who cares about our ads making money when we have a talking baby!

4. Self-Appointed Social Media Gurus

 Take a stroll over to LinkedIn, search one of your local universities, and marvel at how every single eighteen to twenty-five year old has listed “Social Media” as a skill.

Why does that matter?

We live in a world where merely growing up around Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and using them in their private lives has somehow become enough to begin consulting.

 Angrily tweeting about your break-ups, midterms, and your Netflix being down does not make you a social media marketer.

The people who are truly qualified to do this are very few and far between.

To make social media more than just a 140 character branding campaign, one must incorporate the same direct response marketing principles that you find in long copy.

For the amount of time that must be invested, I frequently warn clients against getting deeply involved in social media, unless they can afford to hire someone like IO Creative Group to do it for them.

 But that’s it.

 Hiring anyone without tons of experience in direct response copywriting and marketing to do social media for you is wasting your money for the sake of branding.

 Just because your intern knows how to hashtag with the best of them, doesn’t qualify them for anything besides the odd coffee run.

 Remember, if it doesn’t multiply the money you put in it is a waste of the big three inputs: time, money, and energy.

 5. Search engine optimization

 Google is not responsible for over 95% of all the searches done on planet Earth, and it is no surprise that there are people taking major advantage of this by turning it into a lucrative business model.

But, should you play?

There is a major flaw in the SEO game, and it is that no matter how much you pay an SEO consultant or company you will need to pay them again in a matter of months to update everything.

Google uses an algorithm to match search queries to the most relevant search results possible, and it likes to change the algorithm is uses to do that matching every few months.

That means what you paid three thousand dollars for today could be obsolete by next month or even next week.

SEO can make a difference in your business as far as web traffic goes, but the results vary a lot based on a number of technical factors such as backlinks, overall competition, and now even social media is being incorporated into the algorithm.

 Google released an update called “Penguin” not too long ago, and when it came out it instantly took many of these “SEO friendly” websites and unceremoniously dropped them from the top results into internet oblivion.


Any service that unpredictable or that requires expensive updating to just stay relevant is not a wise investment for a small business owner.

Especially considering you may never earn back the money you sink into the damn thing in the first place!



Joe DeMaria (@WeAreJAD) is the founder of JAD, author of multiple books on marketing and business growth, and an infomarketer.